Boris Johnson is planning measures to boost the construction industry

Build, build, build! Boris Johnson plans package to boost construction and rescue economy

  • Government will allow planning permission extensions to save building projects
  • Expiry dates between start of lockdown and end of this year extended to April 
  • Work sites will be allowed longer hours to help ensure safe social distancing  

Planning permission deadlines will be extended to save hundreds of construction projects from delays, ministers will announce today.

Longer hours will also be allowed on work sites to help with social distancing and planning appeals could be speeded up.

Boris Johnson is expected to promise to ‘build, build, build’ in a speech next week that he hopes will redefine his premiership.

Planning permission deadlines will be extended to save hundreds of construction projects from delays, ministers will announce today

He will promise a huge programme of investment to revive the pandemic-ravaged economy. 

Planning permission usually expires after three years if work has not been started. But sites that have an expiry date between the start of lockdown and the end of this year will now see their consent extended to next April.

This will prevent work that has been disrupted by the pandemic from stopping altogether.

A developer will not need to submit a new application where permission or consent expires in this period, reducing costs and time delays for firms and local planning authorities.

The Government estimates that by the end of this month alone, more than 400 residential permissions providing more than 24,000 new homes would have expired.

Developers will not need to submit new planning applications where permission or constent expires from the start of lockdown until the end of the year

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: ‘Building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this Government and is an important part of our plans to recover from the impact of the coronavirus. 

‘New laws will enable us to speed up the pace of planning appeals and save hundreds of construction sites from being cancelled before they have a chance to get spades in the ground, helping to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs and create many others.

‘Taken together, these measures will help to keep workers safe and our economy moving as we work together to bounce back from the pandemic.’ 

New measures will also be brought in to speed up the appeals process. 

The Planning Inspectorate will be given the power to run more than one procedure – written representations, hearings and inquiries – at the same time when dealing with a planning appeal.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said building the homes the country needs is central to the Government’s mission

This will allow appeals to conclude more quickly.

Last year a pilot programme found that this more than halved the time taken for appeal inquiries, from 47 weeks to 23 weeks.

The measures will also help builders to negotiate more flexible working hours with their local councils for a temporary period.

This should make it easier to follow public health guidance and, by staggering builders’ arrival times, public transport will be less busy and the risk of infection reduced.

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